[Users] Any ETA or planning on actual Zimbra ZCS fork?

Adrián Gibanel adrian.gibanel at btactic.com
Thu Dec 12 10:49:41 CET 2019

> De: "Randy Leiker" <randy at skywaynetworks.com>
> Para: users at lists.zetalliance.org
> Enviados: Lunes, 2 de Diciembre 2019 22:55:04
> Asunto: Re: [Users] Any ETA or planning on actual Zimbra ZCS fork?

> Hi Adrian,

> Thanks for sending such a thorough email outlining your ideas for forking ZCS
> 8.8.x. Similar to Zimbra's policy prior to the GA release of 8.8, they are
> likewise being quiet about specific roadmap details for the GA release of X,
> aside from a few high level bits of information publicly released.

I see. 

> Aside from the things that I've been told that are confidential partner
> information, it has been publicly hinted that there will be more than one
> version of X, targeted at different markets. It has likewise been publicly
> disclosed that it will likely be based on Docker containers in a Kubernetes
> environment.

> My personal speculation (not based on anything shared with me by Syncaor) is
> that one of those versions will probably be a hosted offering similar to Office
> 365's Business Premium email subscription model, possibly based on an AWS cloud
> platform. I seriously doubt Synacor would directly offer to host it on
> Microsoft's Azure or Google's cloud services, since they are direct competitors
> to Zimbra (Office 365 & G Suite). I also speculate that they would make it
> optional for a Zimbra admin to independently deploy ZCS on their own using
> either Azure or Google's clouds, and a Zimbra admin's own in-house
> infrastructure too.

> In side conversations I've had with several owners of other Zimbra BSPs over the
> last year & a half, they share your preference and prefer to run Zimbra on
> their own infrastructure, rather than public cloud service (e.g. AWS) for
> various reasons. On the flip side, I have also heard from 1-2 BSPs who strongly
> prefer to use a public cloud services for their Zimbra instances. But, I have
> not heard any official information about what will happen to the option to run
> it on an organization's own infrastructure, rather than a public cloud service.
> Like yourself, I am hoping that running a self-hosted version of ZCS X remains
> an option.

I'm pretty sure you will be able to self-host Zimbra X. You might need to tweak your hypervisor or virtual machines setups but you will be able to do it. 
I'm not concerned about Zimbra X being able to be self-hosted or not. That's not the big picture here. 
I'm worried about Zimbra X not being released with an open source license. 
The reason why I'm advocating for forking Zimbra 8.8.X is not because it is a self-hosted version. 
I'm advocating for forking Zimbra 8.8.X because its license is open source and Zimbra X is not clear is going to be open source. 
I would also advocate for forking Zimbra X if there was an already open source version of it from two years ago and no clear news about newer versions being kept under an open source license. 

> I invite you and anyone else reading this message to join the Zeta Alliance on
> our weekly Tuesday conference calls (
> https://www.freeconferencecall.com/wall/zetalliance ) to discuss your thoughts
> on ZCS & your proposed fork. There's usually at least 10-15 of us on those
> weekly calls, where most attendees are BSPs, key people that work in Zimbra
> tech support, engineering, marketing, and key people who work for Zextras. You
> can see a list (
> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uUUDJpwp2CAylU6lxtbEdVcUX_qSbciyes6gLTWw2fY/edit
> ) of the things that we typically discuss on our weekly agendas.

Thank you for inviting me. 
It was an educational talk which will help me to improve the project FAQ draft. 

> Randy Leiker ( randy at skywaynetworks.com )
> Skyway Networks, LLC

> From: "Adrián Gibanel" <adrian.gibanel at btactic.com>
> To: "users" <users at lists.zetalliance.org>
> Sent: Monday, December 2, 2019 9:50:46 AM
> Subject: [Users] Any ETA or planning on actual Zimbra ZCS fork?

> Please note I already started this discussion at ZetaAlliance devel mailing list
> ( You can check the original thread here:
> https://lists.zetalliance.org/pipermail/devel_lists.zetalliance.org/2019-November/000403.html
> ) . As advised I have moved this discussion to the users mailing list.

> 1) ZCS 8.8.x being a dead end.
> 1.1) Synacor has stated that the current ZCS 8.8.x family builds will no longer
> be upgraded.

> More information on "Zimbra 8.8.X support" on "A annex" below.

> 1.2) ZCS 8.8.x now uses a mix of custom scripts and packages from a custom repo.
> 1.3) They will be replaced by "Zimbra X" ( https://info.zimbra.com/zimbra-x-beta
> ) while the ZCS 8.8.x versions based on 'custom scripts and packages from
> custom repo'.

> As far as I understand Zimbra X is what a high-grade professional email service
> should be. A cloud service where many of its services are run in different
> containers. If a given container does not run as expected you can power it off
> and power on another one to replace it. If your service has a lot of usage then
> many more containers are started to keep up with demand. During the night only
> the minimal containers are kept run.

> There is also an improvement on UI based on React.

> Finally it's based on Zimbra's open source project. So that you can have a full
> source code review.

> More information on "Zimbra X" on "B annex" below.

> 1.4) No open source version

> Despite the former statement "based on Zimbra's open source project" as far as
> we know there won't be an open source binary version or download of Zimbra X.
> You won't be able to download your own Zimbra X binaries (built only from open
> source) to be able to deploy it either in your own cloud system (Although I
> suspect it will be technically feasible to install Zimbra X in a single server
> it won't be the default or recommended way of doing things, you will need a
> cloud system anyways.)

> So one of the key selling points of Zimbra: Being "open source" for either
> security or "ensuring future updates" reasons has vanished.

> More information on "Zimbra 8.8.x OSE" on "C annex" below.

> 2) ZCS 8.8.x Replacement

> This is what I think we need in order to replace ZCS 8.8.x

> 2.1) Git repos

> Basically we would need to replicate repos found at:
> https://github.com/Zimbra
> ( Note: I'm already working in this part. )

> 2.2) Pkg repos

> Ubuntu packages repo
> Centos packages repo
> Etc.

> 2.3) Build knowledge and machines

> In addition to the code we need to know how to use it to build the different
> Zimbra versions for each of the supported operating systems and versions.
> Optionally we could have some build machines to automate the build and CI of the
> new system.

> 3) License rework

> It would be nice if plugins could be written in GPL3 and then being able to
> bundled into Zimbra itself.
> Apparently right now they can only be GPL2.

> 4) Name (Domain et al)

> A name for the Zimbra fork.

> 5) What's the current status from the Zeta Alliance side?

> I have checked both the devel and users mailing lists and I haven't seen any
> debate about an hypothetic community-driven fork.

> Is there any message that I have missed?
> Is there any work in progress that I have missed?

> Thank you very much for your feedback!

> 6) Finally I know that Zella Alliance has in its FAQ (
> https://zetalliance.org/faq/ ):

> "
> Q. Is this a fork ?
> A: No, no, no. Everyone involved has clearly expressed, a fork would be the
> worst possible outcome.
> "

> but given the current feedback we have from Synacor we have to be prepared to
> this new scenario.

> Annexes
> =====
> A) Current end of Support Matrix for ZCS 8.8.x and earlier versions (
> https://www.zimbra.com/support/support-offerings/product-lifecycle/ )

> Zimbra Major Release | General Availability | End of General Support | End of
> Technical Guidance
> Version 8.8.x | 12/12/2017 | 12/31/2023 | 12/31/2023

> Zimbra Standard Release | General Availability | End of General Support | End of
> Technical Guidance
> Version 8.8.15 (Joule) Next LTS | 07/19/2019 | 12/31/2023 | 12/31/2023
> Version 8.8.12 (Issac Newton) | 04/01/2019 | 12/31/2019 | 06/25/2020
> Version 8.8.11 (Homi Bhabha) | 12/18/2018 | 6/28/2019 | 12/17/2019
> Version 8.8.10 (Konrad Zuse) | 10/1/2018 | 03/29/2019 | 10/1/2019
> Version 8.8.9 (Curie) | 07/09/2018 | 12/14/2018 | 07/09/2019
> Version 8.8.8 (Turing) | 03/29/2018 | 10/01/2018 | 03/29/2019

> Zimbra Long Term Release | General Availability | End of General Support | End
> of Technical Guidance
> Version 8.7.11 | 07/13/2016 | 12/31/2019 | 12/31/2020

> Close to End of Life | General Availability | End of General Support | End of
> Technical Guidance
> Version 8.6.x | 08/26/2015 | 09/30/2018 | 09/30/2019

> B) About Zimbra X (taken from https://info.zimbra.com/zimbra-x-beta )

> The Next Generation of the Zimbra Email and Collaboration Platform
> Leapfrogging ahead of competitors with a first-of-its-kind containerized
> architecture and React-based application, Zimbra X is optimized for high
> performance and flexibility.

> * Zimbra X Platform
> ** Cloud native and cloud agnostic
> ** Stateless, highly available architecture
> ** Automated container orchestration utilizing Docker Swarm or Kubernetes
> ** Full separation of services and application

> Zimbra X Application
> ** React-based application built on top of Zimbra’s API and GraphQL
> ** Responsive for use on any device
> ** Easily integrates with third party services for a customizable experience
> ** WCAG compliant for full accessibility

> Zimbra X Benefits
> ** Automated deployment, recovery, and traffic management
> ** Flexible cloud hybrid deployment options
> ** Easily customizable and extensible application, with third party services
> like Giphy and Emojis already integrated
> ** Based on Zimbra’s open source project ensuring security and allowing for full
> source code review

> C) Zimbra 8.8.x Collaboration OSE (
> https://www.zimbra.com/open-source-email-overview/ )

> Since the inception, Zimbra has been a community. All of our Zimbra
> Collaboration Open Source Edition software, documentation and innovation has
> been created, tested, used, and discussed openly by people like you
> participating in our Open Source Community. Our contributors diagnose bugs, fix
> bugs, translate programs, submit patches, point out deficiencies in
> documentation, answer community questions, submit killer applications, alert us
> to something that needs tweaking, and write new software. No matter how you
> contribute, we welcome new ideas and contributions for the advancement of
> greater shared knowledge and a better Zimbra Collaboration product.

> --
> Adrián Gibanel

Adrián Gibanel 
I.T. Manager 

+34 675 683 301 
+34 973 270 382 

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